Review :: Gooding, "Angel / Devil"

Wichita's brightest hope to piggyback on the Maroon Five train is Gooding, a virtuosic three-piece band that has all the markings of forthcoming commercial success. The band recently contributed songs to "MTV Road Rules" and "The Matrix: Revisited," exposing them to the national audience they've sought all along.

The brainchild of the operation is a guy named (you guessed it) Gooding. He plays guitar like a studio stud and he sings real pretty-like so all the girlies scream (not to disparage him on either account). Drummer Jesse Reichenberger and bassist Billy Driver form a sharp rhythm section that sounds like a baby version of the almighty Dave Matthews Band duo of Carter Beauford and Stefan Lessard.

Gooding's slide wizardry on the acoustic guitar should impress fans of Jon Butler Trio and/or Ben Harper. New-school bluesy with a decidedly hip-hop bounce, Gooding's rambunctious riffs make the whole crowd say "HEEEYYY!" Lyrics are secondary to the musical tightrope act, which sustains its momentum throughout the 13-song disc.

Though Gooding sounds desperate to make a hit modern-rock record, "Angel/Devil" doesn't sound disingenuous. The band plays up its strengths musicianship, songcraft, versatility in a manner that reflects years of honing their craft. If "Angel/Devil" doesn't floor you, you weren't meant for this band anyways.


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